Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Landscapes

Image: Eric Jones, An enclave of grazing land south of Tyddyn Du, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
21 May 2018

Data visualisations by Max Roser and Hannah Ritchie, published at Our World In Data, show global land use types, changes over time and land use in agriculture. For example, a graph shows that half of the Earth’s habitable land surface is used for agriculture, of which 77% is used for livestock (including both grazing land and land for feed production). For comparison, livestock accounts for 17% of global calorie supply and 33% of global protein supply.​

Image: NASA, Deforestation in Amazonia, seen from satellite, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain
30 April 2018

Tropical deforestation is nearing a critical point, beyond which the rate of forest fragmentation could increase much more rapidly than the rate of forest area loss, according to a study. Fragmentation can have negative effects on biodiversity and also increases carbon emissions beyond those from just the deforested areas, since trees are at greater risk of dying on the edges between forest and cleared land. The researchers predict that reforestation and a reduction in the rate of deforestation are both needed if fragmentation is to be reversed.

6 March 2018

This book, edited by Joshua Zeunert and Tim Waterman, sets out a wide array of interdisciplinary knowledge on landscapes, agriculture, food and sustainability.

26 February 2018

Scotland’s soils contain over half of the UK’s soil carbon stock, making it important to know how to avoid soil carbon loss. The Scottish landscape is currently a net sink for carbon (mainly due to forestry). A recent report assesses current knowledge on soil carbon and land use in Scotland.

20 February 2018

This report from the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) considers the relationships between land use, land degradation and sustainable development goals.

30 October 2017

The University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute have set up a blog to provide space for a conversation about the future of the British countryside.

30 October 2017

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has published its first edition of the Global Land Outlook (GLO), addressing future challenges and opportunities for the management and restoration of land resources in the context of sustainable development.

Photo: David Leo Veksler, Binjang Forest Park, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
11 October 2016

Initiated in 1999, the Grain-for-Green Program was set up primarily to reduce soil erosion and uses cash payments to incentivise people to replant trees on sloped crop and scrubland. This study examines the effects on bird and bee species in the scheme across the country. It finds that the program has not greatly benefited birds and bees due to the common practice of monoculture tree planting.

Photo: Pejman Parvandi, Footprint, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
4 October 2016

There is increasing evidence that human demands on natural systems are accelerating and could affect the stability and services provided by these systems. This paper aims to aid understanding of the temporal and spatial variability of human pressures on natural systems, which provides a foundation for environmental damage mitigation. Recent advances in remote sensing have allowed great development in mapping of human pressures, particularly in forested areas. Other pressures, such as roads and pasture lands, have by comparison been overlooked.

Photo credit: Sam Beebe (Flickr, creative commons licence, Attribution 2.0 Generic)
31 March 2016

This paper in Science discusses the potential of yield increase incentives as a way of convincing farmers to save land to protect biodiversity rather than increasing farmland.   The increase of agricultural land is one of the leading causes of biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions in tropical countries. This paper argues that increasing yields on existing agricultural land can provide farmers with the incentive to spare land for wildlife and nature.

10 March 2016

In their two-part contribution to the Livestock debate on the website of Arc2020 (the agricultural and rural convention), the IPES representatives Olivier de Schutter, Hans Herren and Emile Frison discuss the environmental footprint of livestock, the need for livestock farming to be reintegrated into landscapes and the flaws in the current factory farming model; and they propose ways to address the challenges posed by industrial livestock systems.

16 February 2016

Extract from book introduction:

The growth in global population and more demanding consumption patterns around the world are placing ever increasing pressures on land and its resources. This is resulting in conflicts and the unsustainable use of humanity’s resource base.

15 September 2014

This paper argues that a focus on increasing production in line with dominant projections of increased demand, through intensification of current industrial agricultural practices, will cause environmental damage and increase food insecurity.